1st Mock Draft for the 2021 Draft
As the Panthers were disqualified from the playoffs this past week or basically eliminated, save for some crazy last games, it's time to look to the offseason where the Panthers will look to add more young and veteran talent through free agency and the draft. As the Panthers are sitting pretty inside the Top 10, I will seek to predict the players they bring in.
Round 1 Pick 6: Trey Lance QB NDSU
Trey Lance is a very intriguing passer, hailing from DII college North Dakota State University where Carson Wentz played. Though having only one year of starting experience, Lance passed for 2786 yards, 28 TD, 0 INTs, along with 1,100 rushing yards and 14 TD. The way he plays is reminiscent of Russell Wilson. He plays with both power and speed in the rushing game, while providing a rocket arm to push the ball down the field. With Teddy Bridgewater failing to prove he can be a franchise QB and win with the game on the line, the Panthers should be looking for his replacement, whether Lance sits under Teddy for one year, or Teddy is gifted one more year. I think Trey Lance can excel in Brady's system, and that Trey Lance is a Matt Rhule kind of guy.
Round 2 Pick 39: Dylan Moses LB Alabama
Panthers need a new player to man the middle, to serve as the replacement they've been missing since future HOF Luke Kuechly. Let's be honest, Tahir Whitehead ain't cutting it. He's given up too many big plays in coverage and even in the run as well. Dylan Moses could be the next great Alabama linebacker, following in the footsteps of Donta Hightower, Rashaun Evans, CJ Mosley, and many more. Moses is one of those height weight speed guys that Matt Rhule likes, who also can be a versatile piece in Phil Snow's defense. During his time at Alabama, he was used to cover tight ends, rush the passer, and defend in zone. Moses has dealt with injuries in the past, including a major knee injury last year which sidelined him for the rest of the season. However, I think Dylan Moses has what it takes to be the next great Panthers linebacker as well.
Round 3 Pick 71: Jaylen Twyman DT Pitt
Jaylen Twyman would be the perfect fit next to Derrick Brown, and would complete the Panthers young and explosive defensive line. Twyman brings a much need pass rushing prowess from the inside, recording 12 TFL and 10.5 sacks last season. This line would be reminiscent of the 2013 Panthers D-Line (Hardy, Short, Lotuleilei, Johnson) with the potential to be even better. I think this would be a great value pick for the Panthers in the 3rd round, and I'd love this draft day steal.
Round 4 Pick 108: Tyreke Johnson CB Ohio State
This may be more of an upside pick as the Panthers need to add more to the secondary room and Johnson might be the next talented Ohio State cornerback. Tyreke Johnson is listed at 6'1 195 and while he may need to put on some weight, he has proven to be quite an athlete. He can offer return abilities, as well as emergency RB duties and even serve punts, which he did in high school. I think he will work out well if placed in Phil Snow's defense.
Round 5 Pick 147: Jeremy Ruckert TE Ohio State
Back to back Ohio State players, and back to back upside picks. Ruckert flashes playmaking ability with his athleticism and catch radius. With only limited snaps behind Luke Farrell, Ruckert has the potential to be better than him. While Ian Thomas' production is starting to pick up speed but hasn't exactly impressed, Ruckert could have the chance to be Trey Lance's security blanket.
Round 6 Pick 185: Ambry Thomas CB Michigan
With Thomas opting out and preparing for the 2021 NFL draft, we have to look back at his 2019 season, in which he definitely had a breakout season. Ambry had 38 total tackles, 3 TFL, 3 INT, 6 PD, and 2 fumble recoveries. He should enjoy the secondary, who has just as much swagger as he has. Thomas likes to think he's a good trash talker, and models his game after Jalen Ramsey, the ultimate trash talker. With lots of upside at his position and not much depth for the Panthers, Thomas could find himself as a nice depth piece or even get snaps as a starter if he proves as much in the preseason.
Round 6 Pick 216: Joshua Kaindoh EDGE Florida State
Brian Burns gets one of his buddies back from his DE room at Florida State in Joshua Kaindoh. Kaindoh is a freak athlete at 6'7 247, a speed rusher with long arms like that of Burns. Unless he puts on more weight, I see Kaindoh as more of a tweener and may start out as a linebacker and DE hybrid his rookie year, then transition to a 4-3 defensive end in his sophomore. I'd be very excited for his potential as a backup behind Burns and YGM, when seeing how Phil Snow has utilized Brian Burns, a similar prototype.
Round 7 Pick 228: Trey Hill IOL Georgia
Trey Hill mostly plays at center for the Bulldogs but has shown the ability to play guard if needed. I think that Hill could be the eventual replacement for someone like Tyler Larsen who has shown versatility to play all inside offensive line spots but isn't getting any younger. If he is good enough, he may be able to take over for Paradis after his deal is up.
Hope you enjoyed this mock draft. What did you like? What positions would you like me to emphasize? What picks do you think could use some work? Leave your thoughts and comments below.